By Faith: Abraham & Sarah

Originally published Friday, 02 August 2013.

Faith Is: Being certain of things desired and believing without seeing.

By Faith Abraham:

By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. Hebrews 11:8

The Lord Calls

The Lord called Abraham (Genesis 12:1-4) to gather his family, leave his country, and travel to an unknown land. He called Abraham to abandon security and comfort of familiarity and trust Him to lead, provide, and bless.   

The Lord promises

When God called Abraham to go out, he mercifully offered him comforting promises. He answered the “Why” questions that I assume must have loomed in Abraham’s heart, by promising an inheritance, land that he would give to Abraham’s offspring (Genesis 12:7). The Lord promises to make a great nation of Abraham, to bless him so he will be a blessing.

The Lord fulfills.

Then the Lord fulfills all He promised. Even though Abraham died without seeing the full completion of the promise, God delivered.

Of course, I’m looking ahead. We know the outcome because Abraham has arrived in the hallowed “Hall of Faith.” But also, we see Stephen speak of Abraham in Acts 7:2-4 and testifying to the fact that the people are actually living as descendants in the very land God promised Abraham.

The Lord calls, promises, and fulfills. Abraham obeys.

By faith he went to live in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise. Hebrews 11:9

From home to the hill country, to the Negeb,Bethel, and Hebron, Abraham continually obeyed when the Lord directed his steps. He led his family living in tents, never committing to the earthly cities of the Canaanites but willing to move as the Lord directed. The constant moving and new surrounding must certainly have been uncomfortable, unfamiliar, and downright difficult. But the Lord’s command had been clear and Abraham obeyed.

For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God. Hebrews 11:10

Scripturally speaking, I’m not sure how or what Abraham knew about the “future city” but we know it was his hope moving forward. We know from Revelation 21:2 and 21:10 that this future’s city’s designer and builder is God, and Hebrews 12:22 calls it the “city of the living God” and the “heavenly Jerusalem.” This only lasting (Hebrews 13:14) but coming city cannot be shaken (Hebrews 12:28). And Abraham, being certain of this unseen city, hopes by faith.

By faith Sarah herself received power to conceive, even when she was past the age, since she considered him faithful who had promised. Hebrews 11:11

God promises Abraham and Sarah that they will conceive a son. He promises to bless Sarah, saying she shall become nations; kings of peoples shall come from her (Genesis 17:15-19). This seemed ridiculous to Abraham and Sarah and they both laughed at the thought.

The Lord heard and confronted Sarah’s sinful doubt. She was afraid and denied laughing. (Who does that remind us of? Eve?) She realized the impossibility of her human flesh conceiving at such an old age and wondered how it would even be possible. But God still speaks into her insecurities and doubts by calling them out and confirming his faithfulness, promising to establish his covenant. Sarah, being certain of the promised inheritance, received the power to conceive.

Therefore from one man, and him as good as dead, were born descendants as many as the stars of heaven and as many as the innumerable grains of sand by the seashore. Hebrews 11:12

I love this. God wants us to know that He has done the impossible. From one man, as good as dead, he has created innumerable descendants. Abraham and Sarah were not only “past the age” but they were downright old, as good as dead. Get it? Almost dead. But Abraham’s faith did not weaken (Romans 4:19).

Then “the Lord visited Sarah as he had said, and The Lord did to Sarah as he had promised (Genesis 21:1-7).” One look at the long list of genealogy in Matthew chapter 1 and you will see God’s faithfulness was well proved. Through generations, Abraham’s lineage traces all through way to Jesus. God is faithful.

God makes nations from nothing.

And God wants all the glory. He does calls. He promises. He fulfills.